The 2018 Pacific University softball season is approaching and with it comes a slew of new faces on the roster, as well as two in the coaching of office.
Starting from the top, the Boxers brought in coach Hailey Decker. Decker played two seasons at the University of Nebraska and finished her final two seasons at the University of Oregon.
Decker will look to focus mainly on the hitting side of the game, while also having a roll as the recruiting coordinator for the team. Along with coaching, Decker also plays on the Philippine’s National softball team.
Senior in elder Haley Kodama said the presence of Decker could be felt already.
“The amount of knowledge that she brings to the table is amazing,” Kodama said. “Plus she’s hilarious and witty and that makes hitting with her some of the best parts of practice.”
On the opposite side, Lance Gilgan will be joining the staff to work primarily as a defensive
coach. Gilgan comes to Paci c after being an assistant for Willamette University and coaching the Sherwood High School softball team.
The roster itself will feature 11 freshmen beginning their Pacific careers. With just seven upperclassmen on its roster, the team will look to balance out youth with returning experience to surprise the conference after a down season the previous year.
Senior Trisha Snydar is one of the most experienced players on the roster, having played in at least 30 games the previous two seasons.
“We have a freshman class full of ballers,” Snydar said. “I think we are all very excited to see how they can come in and contribute to the returners.”
The Boxers are returning their top three hitters from the previous season. Sophomore Becca Bernard led the team in batting average and was followed up by junior Amanda Machado and sophomore Kaitlyn Macaitis-Smith.
There will be adversity for the Boxer team this season. However, they will have ample practice time as their season will not begin until mid-February.
With their opening game scheduled for February 18, head coach Liz Yandall said the team is getting some “cabin fever.”
“The anticipation is killing us,” Kodama said. “Luckily our coaches do a great job of keeping the practices exciting and fun.”
The Boxer women will look to improve on a 2017 season in which they finished in the bottom three in the Northwest Conference final standings.
The softball team will open their 2018 campaign at home against Northwest University in a double- header starting at 12 p.m. The team will also be traveling to Arizona for a tournament later this season.